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Wade in Hot Water

Unless someone starts catching the ball in Dallas, the disappointment is likely to grow. Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips may be the first one out of a job this season.

You gotta catch that! (Getty Images)

We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL season and it’s time for the snark to start circling. Aside from jokes about wide receivers who run their mouths better than their routes (yes, we’re talking about you Braylon Edwards late of the Cleveland Browns, now of the New York Jets. I bet no one in northern Ohio needed to the extra clue), the slow start of several presumed contenders has folks wondering who will be the first head coach to be shown the door this season.


Some of the league’s top underachievers are simply bad teams starting a long, make that a veeeerrry long, rebuilding process; they include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. The Tennessee Titans are winless, having started the season with a brutal schedule but after 16 seasons, Coach Jeff Fisher has the NFL equivalent of tenure. He’s rebuilt this team before and will likely get two or three more chances to do it again.


Not so with the Carolina Panthers, whose head coach, eight-year vet John Fox, is a logical choice for an early exit. The Panthers are playing lifeless football and have tough schedule ahead. Injuries on the defensive line will only compound their problems.


But some traditions die hard, and so the biggest question mark has to be in Dallas. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has been on the hot seat since the day he was hired. Even going 13-3 in his first year did little to stifle speculation that he was on shaky ground. Now, after a 9-7 season last year and a slow start this year, he may be the smart-money choice on which head coach gets to update his resume first.


Two wins and two losses do not usually constitute a slow start, but the Cowboys were favored in their two losses and, remember, the team is owned by the petulant and impatient Jerry Jones. Consider, also, that that Phillips' likely replacement, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is already on the Cowboys sidelines, which would make the transition easier and smoother than usual.

The Cowboys also have problems which their two wins may hide. Simply put, none of their wide receivers can catch the ball. In their 17-10 win over the Cowboys on Sunday the Denver Broncos showed eight-man fronts in the second half on Sunday, daring quarterback Tony Romo and number one wide out Roy Williams to beat them.